Rio das Ostras is a city on the coast of Rio de Janeiro state. It takes about two and a half hours to drive here directly up the coast from the city of Rio de Janeiro if you manage to avoid traffic. I think that has happened to us once in the last three and a half years. There is always traffic near Rio, there are always road construction projects and the hideously pot-holed highways are full of insane drivers. Give yourself at least four hours. If your the passenger and not the driver, close your eyes. Trust me, you do not want to watch the demolition derby going on all around you.
This is our home base for the foreseeable future. We’ve already been here for quite a while (the blog is new, but the travels aren’t) and we have learned to love this little town. Thanks to the oil and gas industry it is growing like a mad weed, but it still has it’s small beach town charm.
We’ve been learning Portuguese since we first found out we’d be coming here. It’s going swimmingly and we can now hold pretty in depth conversations with our local friends. Especially if we’ve had a couple of caipirinhas or beers.
Nothing like a little bit of alcohol to loosen up your tongue, not matter the language!
After a morning of study we like to hit the beach. There are seven beaches in Rio das Ostras and every single one if them is beautiful. They vary from soft sand and calm waters to rough sand and wild waves. Some have food and drink kiosks with chairs and umbrellas ready for you to use, some are accessible only by dirt road where you’ll have a whole stretch all to yourself.
If you get thirsty you can get an ice cold coconut water from any one of these vendors who are always nearby. Order one and they’ll poke a hole in it on the spot, insert a straw and you’re all set. Can’t get any more fresh than that.
By far, my favorite Brazilian food is grilled cheese, but this is not your American style grilled cheese sandwich. No, this is fresh, firm white cheese on a stick roasted over hot coals until it’s brown and crispy on the outside. Break off a piece and dip it in mustard, trust me. You can find this stuff all over the country, so if you ever see it, try it!
As for the beef, what can I say? Generally it is local, grass fed and perfectly aged. Brazilian Churrasco is a perfected art form and the meat needs no condiments at all other than maybe a bit of sea salt. When you’re enjoying the churrasco make sure to relax and get comfortable. A traditional BBQ lasts for long hours, often until the wee hours of the morning. We’ve been to dozens of them and have never seen one shorter than seven or eight hours. The meat is cooked and served all day long, often without plates or silverware of your own. There will be a serving tray or two which is topped up with small slices of meat which are continually replaced as they are eaten, and as more meat is ready. I’ve seen the grill master show up with twenty five gallon bins filled entirely with beef, chicken and sausage which they’ll start cooking right away. The party isn’t over until it is all gone.
If you only have six people at your party, it’s going to be a long night and you’ll love every single bite. Just make sure to wear your stretchy pants.
Did you know? Rio das Ostras is the fastest growing city in the country? The population grew by ten percent each of the last two years.
On the map: Click here to see this location on our Google Map.